33 Responses to 792 – White Smoke Mountain • 158

  1. I mean really man. The couch is 12 feet high! Its marked “sword box!”

    Damn classes that have perception as a cross class.

    • To be fair it is quite misty in there. And if I walked into a dungeon and saw a big chest marked “Treasure” I would open if very carefully and very sceptically indeed, if at all!

  2. To be fair it is quite misty in there.

    And would any experienced adventurer really assume the evil dungeon designer would actually leave the sword in a box marked “sword box?”

  3. So when does the giant come into the room… or is this Mist slowly shrinking our good heroes?

    • They’ll talk for two more strips, and then the giant comes in. First he steps on Morty, reviving the “Morty always dies” joke, before the rest of the party attacks, and gets their weapons stuck in the giant’s extremely sticky skin cream, which he keeps slathered all over himself. The halfling Fesneq, who turns out to be the wizard-in-disguise Qesnef, turns the giant into a planter, saying that the giant always cheated at cards anyway. The party leaves the dungeon and flies to Castle Rottencore, where Erias, faced with the three weapons in the world that could kill him, relents, hugs it out, and opens the castle as a tourist attraction. End of comic.

      Does anyone else have any questions?

  4. My humble suggestion for tomorrow’s blog: “The Ding-Dong-Bin-Laden’s dead Edition” (Come on…nobody wants to wait til thursday to weigh in on THAT one…)

    • Oh, I just found out he was killed. I haven’t read any news for 2 weeks at least.

      Edit: Never mind, I’ll postpone this talk till Thursday, my bad.

  5. I am overjoyed. Now that he’s dead we get to pull out of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. The airport can quit looking at us naked, we can stop torturing people, and we won’t have to fire our teachers to keep the top 1% taxes the lowest since 1920s. This whole thing happened because the airlines were too cheap to buy a door like Israel has had for 30 years. We have that door now, plus good old Obama instead of evil old Bush. So that’s what’s going to happen now, right?
    RIGHT? Because if it doesn’t happen, I see myself reenacting reservoir dogs on the Monopoly guy in about fifteen more years, after these idiots have turned America into a Mad Max wasteland.
    Also I do believe Bunker is leading that devil on… hidden under a giant’s couch. Awesome.

      • No they don’t, Elfguy.

        Super rich see federal taxes drop dramatically (AP) – Apr 17, 2011
        http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5goFQ2Rbo80YrKDXZ9wyQ3YWuESmA
        “The Internal Revenue Service tracks the tax returns with the 400 highest adjusted gross incomes each year. The average income on those returns in 2007, the latest year for IRS data, was nearly $345 million. Their average federal income tax rate was 17 percent, down from 26 percent in 1992.
        Over the same period, the average federal income tax rate for all taxpayers declined to 9.3 percent from 9.9 percent.
        (…) More than half of the nation’s tax revenue came from the top 10 percent of earners in 2007. More than 44 percent came from the top 5 percent. Still, the wealthy have access to much more lucrative tax breaks than people with lower incomes.”

        You have to distinguish between the amount of income taxes paid in DOLLARS from the amount of income tax paid in PERCENT of income.

        You see headlines like “Top 1% Pay Greater Dollar Amount in Income Taxes to Federal Government than Bottom 90%”, but the crucial phrase here is DOLLAR AMOUNT:
        http://www.taxfoundation.org/press/show/22652.html (source: IRS, figures from 2007)
        “The table above shows that the top-earning 25 percent of taxpayers (AGI over $62,068) earned 67.5 percent of nation’s income, but they paid more than four out of every five dollars collected by the federal income tax (86 percent). The top 1 percent of taxpayers (AGI over $364,657) earned approximately 21.2 percent of the nation’s income (as defined by AGI), yet paid 39.4 percent of all federal income taxes. That means the top 1 percent of tax returns paid about the same amount of federal individual income taxes as the bottom 95 percent of tax returns.”

        Keep in mind that poor people below a certain income level pay few or do not pay taxes at all, thus not benefitting from tax breaks. Those with a couple million to spare, on the other hand, can make use of numerous tricks, such as using tax shelters, financial speculation, stock holding and shareholder bonuses, privat equities, or giving money to private charities (often ones that themselves helped found) and getting a tax deduction for it. Income is not the only source of money, and lobbying is pays for itself.

        The financial gap between the very rich (top 5%) and the middle income and lower income households has increased since the 1970s, world-wide, with incomes of the very rich (top 1%) rising dramatically since the 1990s, while the income and net-worth of lower-income households has actually declined.

        http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/articles/view/7
        “Income inequality – The top 10% of the income distribution has claimed almost two-thirds of the gains to overall incomes since 1979, with the top 1% alone claiming 38.7% of overall gains.
        The stunning growth of income inequality in the U.S. economy that characterized the last 30 years was not always the norm. Between 1947 and 1973, economic growth was both rapid and distributed equally across income classes. The poorest 20% of families saw growth at least as fast as the richest 20% of families, and everybody in between experienced similar rates of income growth. Since then, growth in average living standards has unambiguously slowed. Between 1973 and 1995, growth in productivity, or how much income can be generated in each hour of work, collapsed to less than half the rate that characterized the previous quarter century. Since 1995, productivity growth has risen sharply, but it remains well below the progress that prevailed between 1947 and 1973.
        And, as shown in the above charts, this slower growth has been accompanied by a dramatic rise in inequality. The growth of typical families’ incomes, which once mirrored overall productivity growth, began flattening in the late 1970s, falling far behind productivity growth. The poorest families saw their real income actually shrink, while income growth increased notably higher up the income scale.”

        Next, you have to understand that income is not the same as wealth.

        The state of working America’s wealth, 2011
        http://www.epi.org/publications/entry/the_state_of_working_americas_wealth_2011
        http://epi.3cdn.net/002c5fc0fda0ae9cce_aem6idhp5.pdf (The actual paper refered to in the article above, 34 pages, statistical figures from the 1960s to 2009)
        “(…) The definition of net worth, also referred to as wealth, is the sum of all assets minus the sum of all liabilities. Assets include items such as real estate, bank account balances, stock holdings, retirement funds (such as 401(k) plans), and individual retirement accounts (IRAs). Liabilities include mortgages, credit card debt, outstanding medical bills, and student loan debt. Net worth excludes assets in defined-benefit pension plans because workers do not legally own the assets held in these plans and thus do not necessarily benefit or suffer from gains or losses in the value of assets used to pay the defined benefits. For similar reasons, this analysis also excludes Social Security and Medicare from net worth calculations. But given the very low levels of wealth owned by the households in the bottom of the wealth distribution in the United States, the implicit wealth provided to them by defined-benefit pension plans and Social Security is absolutely crucial to their ability to achieve acceptable living standards during their retirement years.

        For decades the average net worth of households was fairly stable from year to year and grew at an annualized modest pace—about 1.5% from 1965 to 1995. In the mid-1990s, as seen in Figure A, net worth began to grow at an escalating pace and has since exhibited extreme volatility as illustrated by two peaks (1999 and 2006), each followed by precipitous declines. (…)

        As mentioned, a key feature of the wealth distribution is that it is dramatically more unequal even than the distributions of wages or incomes. Table 1 [Distribution of Income and Wealth, 2009) shows household income, net worth, and net financial assets for the top 1%, the next 9%, and everyone else. The 1% of households with the highest incomes received 21.3% of all income in the economy.

        At the same time, the top 1% of wealth-owning households owned 35.6% of all net worth and an even larger share— 42.4%—of all net financial assets that provide direct financial returns. The bottom 90% of income-earning households received 52.9% of all income, while the bottom 90% of households in terms of wealth controlled just 25.0% of all net worth and 17.3% of direct financial returns.

        Table 2 [Changes in the distribution of wealth, 1962-2009] displays the data illustrated in Figure B as well as additional detail about the distribution of wealth from 1962 to 2009. In 2009, the top fifth of households held 87.2% of all wealth, while the middle fifth held 3.3% (its lowest recorded share) and the bottom fifth actually had negative net worth—what they owed (net of what they owned) was equivalent to 1.4% of all net worth. (…)”

        Or here: http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/articles/view/11

        Or to put it another way:
        http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/americas-elites-have-a-duty-to-the-rest-of-us/2011/04/16/AF5KN8vD_print.html
        “Yet when it comes to governing, the ruling class now devotes itself in large part to utterly self-involved lobbying. Its main passion has been to slash taxation on the wealthy, particularly on the financial class that has gained the most over the past 20 years. By winning much lower tax rates on capital gains and dividends, it’s done a heck of a job.

        Listen to David Cay Johnston, the author of “Free Lunch” and a columnist for Tax Notes. “The effective rate for the top 400 taxpayers has gone from 30 cents on the dollar in 1993 to 22 cents at the end of the Clinton years to 16.6 cents under Bush,” he said in a telephone interview. “So their effective rate has gone down more than 40 percent.”

        He added: “The overarching drive right now is to push the burden of government, of taxes, down the income ladder.”

        Compare that with Roosevelt’s New Deal after 1929.

        • Well when they finally give in to your philosophy and raise the tax rates for everyone who isn’t on welfare to 100%, good luck finding anyone with the money to hire you.

          • The main problem with the “tax the rich more” argument is, those who are making it don’t even understand their own argument.

            The “Top 1%” isn’t Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, Christina…they’re like the top 0.001%.

            The Top 1% is the owner of the local book shop, the franchisee at your corner McDonalds (Not the corporation itself, the guy paying to run the particular restaurant), and every single employer you’ve ever had in your life, with the exception of the little old lady who paid you to mow her lawn when you were ten.

            Small Business is in the top 1%. And you want to take all their money. So who’s going to hire anyone?

            • Statistics can show whatever you want them to show. And a lot of very rich people an corporations (and some not a rich) have money hidden in off shore accounts that they don’t even claim so they never show up on the tax rolls. This money is not even in those calculations. All I know is I am poor. I made less than 20k last year and due to my disabilities (after 26 yrs of working including military service) it looks like I will be lucky to make 10k this year since I didn’t not get approved for disability. It appears the country is alittle to republican for those who need it to get help right now. I am sure it is my fault for not being born into a mega rich oil family.

            • The top 2% make $250,000 a year. I highly doubt the guy running McDonalds and the guy owning the local book shop are in the top 1%.

              • Yeah, the little store owners aren’t making the big bucks, they’re making better than the other employees in the shop but not that much. Unless you personally know one who does, in which case s/he will be the anomaly, and it’s likely they’re doing something else on the side.
                If it’s the manager of a huge mega-store type of shop then yeah, they can make quite a bit, but those are not the “small businesses” we mean.

              • Let’s examine that shall we? The guy running the average McDonalds is paying the salaries of 15-20 employees who earn between 1500 and 2000 dollars a month. Using 3rd grade math so you can understand, that comes out to at least 270,000 a year in EXPENSES (Not counting rent, truckloads of supplies, utilities, etc). As anyone who (unlike you, evidently) has run a business knows, any business has to bring in more money than they spend.

                SO yes, small businesses like a McDonalds franchise ARE in the top 1% in terms of income.

                Pull some more numbers out of your rear end…it’s funny. What leftie politician told you that 2% of the population make more than 25oK? Gotta love the Class Warfare BS…we don’t have social classes in the US…if you want that kind of BS, go live in some moncarchy somewhere.

                • Wait, are you talking about the store itself or what the manager of said store makes? The manager himself doesn’t make that kind of money, that’s the business(and isn’t that usually the big company’s property anyway? Isn’t the manager usually just another hireling?), and that’s just the overall money it makes without taking out the salaries, materials, rent, insurance etc costs.
                  Are we talking about the people who actually make that kind of money for themselves or the people who are put in charge of a business? Because my stupid bitch of a boss when I worked at the gas station didn’t get to take all that money that came in. She was just another lowly employee, with a better status and higher paycheck but she didn’t own anything, she just managed it.
                  And are we talking about “clean”, net earnings here or before expenses?

                  Ah, just forget it, I couldn’t bother to read the whole discussion, economics make me sleepy. Just don’t let people get away from earning dozens and even hundreds of times the minimum wage without taxing them a bit more. It’s not like somebody really needs to earn this kind of money.

                  • Not the manager, the store owner, the franchisee…the guy who signs the paychecks, not the employee who runs the place on a day to day basis. That’s the guy Christina thinks should have all the money confiscated from for government redistribution. And my point is, if he has no money, how will he pay his employees?

                    • ALL the money? Aren’t you exaggerating a tad? I mean, I know Christina is European and hence a dirty commie, but maybe she doesn’t mean that kind of wealth-redistribution? Maybe she means another kind*?

                      *Can you believe how some guys are so bored they upload MP sketches to YouTube? 🙄

                    • The “Contact” button doesn’t seem to work anymore. So anyway, I tried editing the above reply to Elfguy to correct a tiny typo and it said it was put on moderation, probably because it doesn’t like people editing comments with links in them, so I’d appreciate if you checked it, Kevin, in case it gets deleted. Oh, and fix the “contact” button. 😛